Watching your kid attempt to tie his own shoes.
Exercising for 20 minutes a day.
What do all of the above have in common? They can all be mind-numbingly miserable and frustrating activities if you can't visualize their end goals.
For example, if you're not thinking about the delicious dinner you are hosting for friends or the lunches you're going to fuel yourself with from the food you're buying while grocery shopping, it can be seen as an obnoxious task.
Likewise, anyone who has EVER witnessed a kid in the "I DO IT" phase can attest to how excruciating it can be to watch what would have taken you five seconds, become an hour-long task. The long-term goal here is that your kid can tie his own shoes at college freshman orientation. Probably a good thing.
Lastly, if you're trudging along a 20 minute workout and thinking about how it really doesn't matter if you half-ass it or even skip it that day, you're going to find yourself in the same shape you are currently, a year from now.
What if you thought about how it will help you long-term?
What if you thought about the family hiking trip you wanted to take in the summer but won't schedule because you're too out of shape to keep up?
What if you just scheduled it and then used it as motivation to GET in shape?
Many people, myself included, tend to overestimate what can be done in a month but underestimate what can be done in a year.
For example, looking for a quick fix to lose 30 pounds in one month before a cruise instead of staying consistent with nutrition and exercise for a whole year to gain attainable AND sustainable results.
Give meaning to your daily, weekly, and monthly habits such as meal-prepping and exercising by thinking about and visualizing what it can do for you long-term.
Post a picture of what it is that you are working so hard for somewhere you'll see it everyday. Maybe of that hiking spot you want to conquer, a beach you want to visit, etc.
Not only will being reminded of your long-term goal encourage you POSITIVELY to do the actions that will push you closer toward it, but it can also help you before making a NEGATIVE choice that will drive you away from your goal. Maybe you'll think twice before overdoing it on desserts at 2AM.
The take-away is that if you are only thinking of your habits and actions as separate entities that don't add up to anything, you don't really take into account the consequences they bring about.
If instead you keep your long-term goal at the forefront, you can more easily recognize that EVERY little habit and action drives you closer to--or away from--that goal.
Don't be afraid to THINK BIG in the new year!